THE TORAH PORTION FOR SHABBAT SHUVAH 5 TISHRI 5782 September 11, 2021
L’SHANAH TOVAH TIKATËVU V’TËCHATËMU – May you be written and sealed in the Book of Life for a good year!
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/vayeilech
Vayëlech (וַיֵּלֶךְ — Hebrew for “[Moses] went”) Deuteronomy 31:1-30
[According to the triennial cycle, all of Deut. 30:1-30 is read in 2021.]
- Moses prepares the people for his death and announces that Joshua will succeed him. (31:1–8)
- Moses instructs the priests and the elders regarding the importance of reading the Torah. (31:9–13)
- God informs Moses that upon his death, the people will commit idolatry and “many evils and troubles shall befall them.” God tells Moses to teach the people a poem that will “be My witness.” (31:14–30)
When Vayëlech is read separately, as it is this year, the haftarah is Isaiah 55:6–56:8.
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH
Abridged from Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vayelech
In the parashah, Moses told the Israelites to be strong and courageous, as God and Joshua would soon lead them into the Promised Land. Moses commanded the Israelites to read the law to all the people every seven years. God told Moses that his death was approaching, that the people would break the covenant, and that God would thus hide God’s face from them, so Moses should therefore write a song to serve as a witness for God against them.
Some scholars who follow the Documentary Hypothesis find evidence of three separate sources in the parashah. Thus some scholars consider God’s charges to Moses in Deuteronomy 31:14–15 and to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:23 to have been composed by the Elohist (sometimes abbreviated E) who wrote in the north, in the land of the Tribe of Ephraim, possibly as early as the second half of the 9th century BCE. Some scholars attribute to the first Deuteronomistic historian (sometimes abbreviated Dtr 1) two sections, Deuteronomy 31:1–13 and 24–27, which both refer to a written instruction, which these scholars identify with the scroll found in 2 Kings 22:8–13. And then these scholars attribute the balance of the parashah, Deuteronomy 31:16–22 and 28–30, to the second Deuteronomistic historian (sometimes abbreviated Dtr 2) who inserted the Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:1–43) as an additional witness against the Israelites.
While in the Masoretic Text and the Samaritan Pentateuch, Deuteronomy 31:1 begins, “And Moses went and spoke,” in a Qumran scroll (1QDeut), some Masoretic manuscripts, and the Septuagint, Deuteronomy 31:1 begins, “And Moses finished speaking all.” Robert Alter noted that the third-person forms of the verb “went,” wayelekh, and the verb “finished,” wayekhal, have the same consonants, and the order of the last two consonants could have been reversed in a scribal transcription. Alter argued that the Qumran version makes Deuteronomy 31:1 a proper introduction to Deuteronomy chapters 31–34, the epilogue of the book, as Moses had completed his discourses, and the epilogue thereafter concerns itself with topics of closure.
In the Masoretic Text and the Samaritan Pentateuch, Deuteronomy 31:9 reports that Moses simply wrote down the Law, not specifying whether inscribed on tablets, clay, or papyrus. But a Qumran scroll (4QDeut) and the Septuagint state that Moses wrote the Law “in a book.” Martin Abegg Jr., Peter Flint, and Eugene Ulrich suggested that the verse may have reflected a growing emphasis on books of the Law after the Jews returned from the Babylonian exile.
REFLECTION – Un’taneh Tokef
From Temple Sinai oaklandsinai-hhd.org Machzor for the High Holy Days pp.17-19
Today we call it by its rightful name:
A Day of Dread––nora v’ayom.
unwelcome visitor, for we want to live
in a sunny world where God is love
and all endings are happy….
The words are old and the language was theirs,
but the call is real and the message is ours:
Take hold of your life
while you still have a chance;…
The great Shofar is sounded, the still, small voice is heard; the
angels gripped by fear and trembling, declare in awe: This is the
Day of Judgement! For even the Hosts of Heaven are judged, as all
who dwell on earth stand arrayed before You.
As the shepherd seeks out the flock, and makes the sheep pass under the
staff, so do You muster and number and consider every soul, setting the
bounds of every creature’s life, and decreeing its destiny.
Clergy Reflection [by Rabbi Yoni Regev, bottom p.18]
The unique power of the Un’taneh Tokef prayer derives from its starkness. It bluntly challenges us to reckon with our frailty and mortality. Many of us are uncomfortable with classical notions of God and God’s power, but this moment of introspection fills us with doubt. We may never know if our faults or merits truly affect our fate, but there is no doubt that they can transform our lives and the world around us. On our minds is the ancient unknowable question––who will live, and who will die? But what if we asked ourselves instead––how have I lived, and how shall I live? That is the awesome and dreadful power of this holy day when we must confront our inner selves in the presence of God.
SHMITAH – YEAR OF RELEASE (the following bears repeating)
May this new year, this Shmitah year, be for each of us, one in which we release what no longer serves us. May we reflect upon the mark we make upon our world and one another. May we foster in ourselves and those around us the ideals we desire.
HIGH HOLY DAYS – 5782 – Shanah Tovah uMetukah – Anyada Buena, Dulse i Alegre!
As clearly explained in Dr. Sam Caron’s email of 8/16/21, due to new issues with the pandemic Temple Kol Hamidbar has decided to forego providing either in person or online Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Services. The wellbeing of our members and friends is of utmost importance. However, we will have 6 PM online Torah Study and a 7:30 PM Shazoom Service for Shabbat Shuvah (Shabbat of Return) this evening, Friday, September 10, 2021.
To help make the High Holy Days as meaningful as possible, the Union for Reform Judaism and various congregations within the Reform Movement are providing free online resources to anyone interested in participating in services. As a result, in addition to those listed in Dr. Caron’s email, you definitely need to visit beforehand the following websites for their latest information on the High Holy Days and how to access them. Some are requesting a donation from non-members.
Temple Emanu-El in Tucson, AZ https://www.tetucson.org/
Temple Sinai in Oakland, CA https://www.oaklandsinai.org/
The Union for Reform Judaism https://urj.org/
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence especially against all minority communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war, especially the victims of 9/11.
This coming week, the 27th of Elul through the 4th of Tishri, we lovingly remember:
Memorial Board, Mother of TKH Member Joe Schwartz z”l
Friend and Neighbor of TKH Member Iris Adler
Aunt of TKH Member Elizabeth Bernstein
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
Al sh’loshah d’varim ha’olam omëd – The world is sustained by three things: Torah, worship and loving deeds. We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this Friday evening, September 10, 2021.
Zoom continues updating its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening:
Topic: Torah Study – Triennial Reading Deut. 31:1-31:30
Time: September 10, 2021 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: September 10, 2021 07:30 PM Arizona
To join the Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72510500854?pwd=Z3VQZWF4U1BBZytNYmh3aHFTWkFDZz09
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
We are in the midst of the Yamim Nora’im – the Days of Awe. Some apply this name only to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Others apply it to the two as well as the whole ten-day period they encompass. These are also known as the Ten Days of Repentance.
Yom Kippur begins the evening of Wednesday, September 15, 2021 at sundown.
G’MAR CHATIMAH TOVAH – May you be sealed for good (in the Book of Life)!
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!